The US is disappointed with Turkey’s decision to turn Hagia Sophia into a mosque. It is reported by The Hill with reference to the Department of State.
Office spokeswoman Morgan Ortagus noted that the building is an important part of UNESCO’s World Heritage Sites in Istanbul, in recognition of its rich multicultural history.
“We understand that the Turkish government remains committed to maintaining access to Hagia Sophia for all visitors,” Ortagus added. She emphasized that the United States “is looking forward to hearing” about Istanbul’s plans to further manage the cathedral in order to ensure its unhindered access for all.
Earlier, the Russian Orthodox Church (ROC) called the conversion of Hagia Sophia into a mosque “a slap in the face of global Christianity.”
On July 10, it was reported that Hagia Sophia in Istanbul again officially became a mosque. Prior to this, on June 5, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan instructed his assistants to conduct a study to prepare the cathedral for official conversion into a mosque. On July 2, the Turkish Supreme Court ruled that the status of Hagia Sophia in Istanbul could be changed by presidential decree.
St. Sophia Cathedral was erected by order of the Emperor Justinian in the VI century AD. After the Turks captured Constantinople, it was made a mosque, but in 1935 the first president of Turkey, Kemal Atatürk, assigned the shrine the status of a museum.